Photo by: Joel Montes, Creative Commons

Photo by: Joel Montes, Creative Commons

Isn’t it awkward when, as a professional in your chosen niche, you’re asked a simple question about your industry and you don’t have a good answer? You’re first instinct is to start babbling so you sound educated on the topic, although that particular strategy only magnifies the transparency of your ignorance.

I was being interviewed last week by two writers from Hong Kong. The publisher and owner of, an international resource for green marketing and sustainability best practices, were “delighted” to learn that a principle in a green marketing firm was named the Phoenix Ad Person of the Year, (Green is getting its due) and they wanted my thoughts on selling sustainability.

We spent an hour on the phone for a feature in their October green marketing magazine. They asked me about my favorite green rating system. I hadn’t really given any thought to the myriad of organizations that rate the “Greeness” and sustainability of a company, product or service. I don’t have a favorite because I don’t know enough about the green rating industry.

EcoMeter from nicole sorochan on Vimeo.

Then it got weird. I guess I’d call it sustainable serendipity,  because the next morning I opened an email from Nicole at EnviroSpeak Media, who was looking for survey takers regarding green rating systems. Her organization is creating a new software called EcoMeter that will “help consumers make greener purchasing decisions.” I took two surveys that tested my familiarity with presumably the most popular green rating systems for companies and products. Do you know them?

Green Rating Systems for Companies/Corporations:

  • Zumer: Zumer has partnered with consumers and universities for the last three years to build the largest publicly available database of sustainability information.
  • Corporate Register: Based in the UK, is the primary reference point for corporate responsibility reports and resources worldwide.
  • Trucost: Trucost helps organizations measure and manage the environmental impacts associated with their own operations, supply chains and investment portfolios.
  • FTSE KLD Index: This All Cap Sustainability Index is a diversified and comprehensive representation of the US equity market available to investors seeking to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into their investment strategies.
  • US EPA: Finally! One I’ve heard of. The Environmental Protection Agency.

Green Rating Systems for Products:

  • Goodguide: GoodGuide rates of 65,000 products based on being non-toxic and environmentally friendly from companies with solid social and safety records.
  • EPEAT: This site offers a system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes.
  • Green Seal: Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that uses sciene-based standards and the power of the marketplace to create a more sustainable world.
  • Energy Star: The EPA’s ubiquitous rating system for products that use power.
  • Greenzer: The fine folks at O2 help educate about going green and the products that will help you do it.

Green Consumer Review Resources:

  • Treehugger: Arguably the leading green website for people interested in sustainability.
  • Amazon: Yes, the omnipresent online shopping site also has a green side for product reviews and sales.
  • Consumer Reports: You may not know this because it’s very well featured on their home page, but Consumer Reports, the grand daddy of all consumer advocate sites, offers for all your sustainable products.
  • Cnet: Another option for green reviews on electronic products.
  • GreenPeace: The voice of the environmental activist.

A little about the EcoMeter project:

EcoMeter is a meta rating system for consumer products that helps consumers make greener purchasing decisions. 87% of consumers intend to buy green but fragmented information makes it difficult to make a green purchase decision. As such, only 33% of consumers actually make sustainable product purchases. To reduce this gap, EcoMeter aggregates and analyzes millions of consumer reviews and sustainability reports from across the web to deliver a simple on-demand environmental rating for consumer products at the point of sale. Available via free web and mobile applications, consumers can use EcoMeter on any website, or in any retail store, to research the environmental impact of a product prior to purchase.

Do you know of any green rating systems and/or consumer resources for sustainability that didn’t make their list?